Audi Sport Italia Wins National Endurance Title
A call to keep Mattia Drudi on slick tires during a rain spell in the final 20 minutes paid off for Audi Sport Italia as it secured the Italian GT Championship Endurance title at Monza.
Drudi, Lorenzo Ferrari and Riccardo Agostini won Sunday’s three-hour season finale by just under six seconds from their primary title rivals Stuart Middleton, Alberto di Folco and Andrea Amici who were driving for Lamborghini outfit Imperiale Racing.
The winning No. 12 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo overcame the pole-sitting Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, which led the opening two stints courtesy of Amici and Middleton.
Drudi was running 50 seconds behind di Folco in the final hour, but with less than half of the deciding stint remaining the rain arrived, prompting several teams including Imperiale to switch onto wet-weather tires.
After scouting the conditions with its sister car, the Audi Sport Italia squad kept Drudi out on slicks in what appeared to be a bold strategy gamble.
But the Audi factory driver successfully negotiated the tricky conditions and managed to keep ahead of a charging di Folco to clinch the race win and the championship.
Simon Mann won the Pro-Am class title with victory at Monza alongside Toni Vilander, while Nova Race Honda pair Erwin Zanotti and Luca Magnoni prevailed in Am.
Other Racing Action & News
***The new season of the Thai Super Series kicked off at Buriram last weekend. Vattana Motorsport’s Pitsanu Sirimongkolkasem and Chonsawat Asavahame – the 2019 Blancpain GT Series Asia Am class runner-up – won the opener in a Honda NSX GT3 Evo.
***Race 2 honors went to B-Quik Racing by Absolute drivers Daniel Bilski and Martin Rump, who shared an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo. Rump held off Earl Bamber’s Porsche 911 GT3 R in the opening stint before handing over to Bilski, who completed the job.
***Phoenix Racing will run an additional second Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo in the ADAC GT Masters season finale. Italian GT champion Drudi will team up with Salman Owega.
***Bentley could potentially be represented on the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS grid, depending on the outcome of a shakedown test at Bathurst this week. Mike Bailey recently purchased the ex-Maranello Motorsport Bentley Continental GT3. TCR Australia driver Dylan O’Keefe will handle the shakedown.
***Team BRIT, which supports disabled racing drivers, will run a McLaren 570S GT4 in next year’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship. Bobby Trundley, who was dragonised with severe autism as a child, and paraplegic former motocross racer Aaron Morgan will share the wheel.
***The British GT4 entry marks a step in Team BRIT’s journey towards the 24 Hours of Le Mans: “Next year we aim to acquire our GT3 car which we will race in British GT and European Le Mans in 2023 before aiming for Le Mans in 2024,” said team founder Dave Player.
***The candidates participating in the assessment for the annual Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award at Silverstone last week got behind the wheel of sports car racing machinery, including a Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and an ex-ARC Bratislava Ginetta LMP3 that is now owned and run by BBM Sport.
***Iron Lynx driver Doriane Pin, who has represented the team in GT3 competition this year, will participate in an FIA Formula 3 test at Paul Ricard on Nov. 10. Pin will share the test with single-seater racer Maya Weug, who is also on the Iron Dames program.
On this weekend: FIA World Endurance Championship (Bahrain), Super GT (Motegi), ADAC GT Masters (Nürburgring)